Week in Science (31 Jan – 6 Feb 2021)

Science News related to Solving Complex Physics Problems at Lightning Speed, Antarctica’s Ice Melt Consistency, Materials Capable of Self-Propulsion, The Next Big Step to Scale Up Quantum Computing, Evolution of Human Tolerance and Friendliness, Detecting Broadest Frequencies Ever with Quantum Receiver, Fully Recyclable Polymers, New Microscopy Concept Entering into Force


Note: None of the news bits (and cover picture) given here are written/owned by NewAnced's authors. The links on each of the news bits will redirect to the news source. Content given under each headline is a basic gist and not the full story.

1. Solving Complex Physics Problems at Lightning Speed


Source: Chalmers University of Technology 1 Feb 2021


A calculation so complex that it takes twenty years to complete on a powerful desktop computer can now be done in one hour on a regular laptop. Physicists have designed a new method to calculate the properties of atomic nuclei incredibly quickly.

2. Antarctica’s Ice Melt Isn’t Consistent, New Analysis Shows


Source: Ohio State University 1 Feb 2021


Antarctic ice is melting, contributing massive amounts of water to the world’s seas and causing them to rise – but that melt is not as linear and consistent as scientists previously thought, a new analysis of 20 years’ worth of satellite data indicates. The analysis, built on gravitational field data from a NASA satellite system, shows that Antarctica’s ice melts at different rates each year, meaning the models scientists use to predict coming sea level rise might also need adjusting.


Original written by: Laura Arenschield

3. Researchers Discover Materials Capable of Self-Propulsion


Source: University of Massachusetts Amherst 1 Feb 2021


Researchers have discovered how to make materials that snap and reset themselves, only relying upon energy flow from their environment. The discovery may prove useful for various industries that want to source movement sustainably, from toys to robotics, and is expected to further inform our understanding of how the natural world fuels some types of movement.

4. Beyond Qubits: The Next Big Step to Scale Up Quantum Computing


Source: University of Sydney 2 Feb 2021


Scientists have invented a device that operates at 40 times colder than deep space to directly control thousands of qubits, the building blocks of quantum technology. The scientists have opened the next chapter in quantum technology with the invention of a single chip that can generate control signals for thousands of qubits.

5. Environmental Factors Played A Key Role in The Evolution of Human Tolerance and Friendliness


Source: University of York 3 Feb 2021


Environmental pressures may have led humans to become more tolerant and friendly towards each other as the need to share food and raw materials became mutually beneficial, a new study suggests. This behaviour was not an inevitable natural progression, but subject to ecological pressures, the study concludes.

6. Researchers Detect Broadest Frequencies Ever with Quantum Receiver


Source: U.S. Army Research Laboratory 4 Feb 2021


A new quantum sensor can analyze the full spectrum of radio frequency and real-world signals, unleashing new potentials for Soldier communications, spectrum awareness and electronic warfare. Researchers built the quantum sensor, which can sample the radio-frequency spectrum—from zero frequency up to 20 GHz—and detect AM and FM radio, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and other communication signals.

7. Molecule from Nature Provides Fully Recyclable Polymers


Source: University of Groningen 4 Feb 2021


Plastics are among the most successful materials of modern times. However, they also create a huge waste problem. Scientists produced different polymers from lipoic acid, a natural molecule. These polymers are easily depolymerized under mild conditions. Some 87 percent of the monomers can be recovered in their pure form and re-used to make new polymers of virgin quality.

8. New Microscopy Concept Enters into Force


Source: ETH Zurich Department of Physics 5 Feb 2021


The key idea of the scanning probe microscopes is to scan an extremely sharp tip over a substrate and to record at each location the strength of the interaction between tip and surface. The first demonstration of an approach that inverts the standard paradigm of scanning probe microscopy raises the prospect of force sensing at the fundamental limit. The researchers report the first scanning force microscope in which the tip is at rest while the substrate with the samples on it vibrates.


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